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Belize Territorial Volunteers present 2019 report

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Posted: Monday, December 30, 2019. 1:28 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: Today, Will Maheia, founder of the Belize Territorial Volunteers (BTV), gave his overview of 2019 and the organization’s efforts to advocate for Belize’s territorial integrity, protecting the environment and raising awareness about social issues.

Maheia noted that the BTV began the year on a high note with increased patrols looking out for Guatemalan fishermen. Through their patrol efforts, the men and women of the BTV successfully conducted over 100 patrol trips and destroyed over 3,000 feet of illegal gill nets.

“Fishers from Guatemala are most active during these months leading up to the Lent period,” Maheia said. “Lent is a major time of the year in the Latin American countries and since abstinence from eating red meat is practiced during Lent, fish prices skyrocket during this time. As a result, it is necessary for us to double the amount of patrol expeditions to curtail illegal and unsustainable fishing activities.”

Maheia said that the BTV also managed to save major acreage from the destruction this year by reporting these illegal activities to the Forest Department and exposing them on PGTV, noting that 2019 was one of the organization’s most effective year in halting the deforestation of the riparian zones. He underscored the works the BTV has done in raising awareness about the importance of watersheds and rivers and notes that PGTV has reported many stories on pollution, illegal logging and the harmful effects those activities have on the environment.

The BTV exposed illegal logging in one of the National Parks as well as the continued harassment and brazen confrontations with the Guatemalan military in its quest to expose what is taking place along the borders of Belize. Another notable accomplishment for the BTV this year was the planting of over 1,000 mahogany and other trees in the Rio Grande watershed.

“I would like to take this opportunity to share with you our challenges and victories. I am incredibly humbled and proud of our organization and its work. Thank you for your dedicated commitment and the support that each of you has shown us,” Maheia said.

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